youth sports return

UPDATE: Today marks the day that high-risk sports like football, rugby, cheerleading etc can resume. This means that all sports are now able to practice and compete and do contact drills, with some restrictions. All games and practices must be outdoors, spectators must social distance, and coaches and staff must wear masks, and players should wear masks when they aren’t playing. Additionally, all sports should limit the use of shared equipment and employing disinfecting regularly.

Earlier this month Governor Murphy announced that organized sports practices would resume on June 22nd for all youth programs. While sports practices can start on that date, today the governor also revealed dates for when competition can report. 

Starting on June 22, all youth sports (no matter the risk level) are allowed to restart with practices and non-contact drills as long as they are practicing outdoors. 

On June 22, low-risk outdoor sports like tennis and golf can resume competition as well. The key being that tournaments and gatherings must still be within the state outdoor gathering rules, which are currently at 100, but expected to be increased to 500 by July 6. 

Medium-risk sports, like basketball and soccer are expected to be able to compete in games again starting July 6, if there are no sudden spikes in COVID-19 cases in the state. And high-risk sports like football will be able to resume competing on July 20th. 

For sports, all coaches, athletes and staff are subject to temperature checks and health screenings. Any player or staffers that are ill will not be allowed to participate. 

Organizers must have someone tasked to remind players, coaches and spectators to employ social distancing. There should also be signs posted to explain social distancing rules. Sports with larger teams are encouraged to stagger practices to avoid large groups being crowded together. 

Spectators and coaches/staffers must wear cloth masks while at games. Athletes should not wear masks while playing, but should wear masks when possible when not playing or practicing. 

Teams should limit the sharing of equipment, and any shared equipment must be disinfected regularly. Athletes are advised to bring their own water bottles to avoid sharing. And hand sanitizer should be available in all high-traffic areas. 

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